The autonomous shuttle company Ohmio Automotion is to supply 150 vehicles to the Korean company, Southwest Coast Enterprise City Development, in what is being hailed as the biggest ever deal of its kind.
The agreement was signed by Mohammed Hikmet, the founder of HMI Group and its subsidiary, Ohmio Automotion Ltd, and SolaSeaDo President Yoon, Jin Bo. SolaSeaDo is in the advanced stages of securing a contract to build a large scale smart city in Korea and will know later this year if it has secured the contract for this development.
“This is a significant development for Ohmio and a major vote of confidence in what we have developed”, Mohammed Hikmet said from Seoul where he signed the agreement. “The Ohmio LIFT™ is a wholly developed New Zealand autonomous shuttle. This commitment to source our vehicles for this Korean development is a great demonstration of what we can do in New Zealand.”
“I am not aware of any other commitment to deploy as many vehicles as this one. We think this is the largest single deployment of autonomous shuttles in the world,” said Dean Zabrieszach, CEO of HMI Technologies. “Of course, we will only know if this is going to happen if SolaSeaDo finalises the contract for this development. SolaSeado is very confident about that outcome, so we are very excited by this prospect”
The Ohmio LIFT is a 20-person shuttle that can be extended to carry up to 40-person (the Ohmio LIFT XT1) to operate on pre-determined routes without the need for a driver. It will provide services, similar to a tram, but with virtual rails. It is guided by a range of electronic systems.
Ohmio has been developed by HMI in Pakuranga, Auckland and launched the first demonstration in Christchurch last September, using prototype vehicles to showcase the technology of driverless automated shuttles and the robotic technologies that underpin them.
“These first vehicles were to show we had developed the know-how to build an autonomous vehicle. Since then we have been developing the Ohmio LIFT, a vehicle that we expect will be used in a range of environments such as airports, business parks and central city areas. We were proud to have made our first sale to Christchurch International Airport in March”, Hikmet said.
Hikmet added that there is a lot of international interest in Ohmio, having recently met with potential investors and customers in Asia and North America. “I am very excited by the strong level of interest we have had in both the USA and Asia. I expect this arrangement with SolaSeaDo will be the first of many to come.”